Otago Volts heroic in super over win
Jimmy Neesham has turned in a heroic performance to lead the Otago Volts to a thrilling super over win in the Champions League twenty20 cricket tournament in India.
The victory against South African side the Highveld Lions also puts the Volts in pole position for a Champions League semi-final berth.
The 2013 Group A Champions League fixture played in Jaipur was one of the more dramatic twenty20 showdowns most would ever encounter which started with South African international Quinton de Kock scoring an impressive unbeaten 109 from 63 balls to get the Lions to 167 for four batting first.
When 23-year-old Neesham strode to the crease in the Volts' reply it looked bleak as the New Zealand team's winning streak was almost certain to end at 14 victories.
The Volts were treading water at 97 for four with 13 overs remaining and struggled to find any momentum.
When de Boorder and Nathan McCullum departed to make it 103 for six the Volts needed 65 from 31 balls to win and there was a sense the Volts were done.
However, Neesham, on one of the biggest stages in world cricket, smashed an unbeaten 52 from 25 balls see the scores level after 20 overs.
It forced a super over where both teams had six balls each to score as many runs as they could to claim victory.
Neesham stayed padded up and in the first ball of the super over he flayed Sohil Tanvir over point for four.
The second ball he picked off a single bringing Brendon McCullum on strike.
McCullum initially struggled facing a dot ball and grabbing only a leg bye off the fourth ball of the over.
When Neesham managed just the single off the fifth ball of the super and the Volts score on seven it was advantage the Lions.
However, off the final ball McCullum pounced on Tarvir's attempted yorker, which was just a touch too full, and he sent it over long off for six, taking the Volts' super over score to 13.
Sensing it was Neesham's night, McCullum threw the young all rounder the ball to try to contain the Lions to 13 or less.
When de Kock hit him for a four off the first ball, followed by a six off the second ball, yet again the Volts looked done.
However, yet again the Volts, and in particular Neesham, were able to haul themselves out of a bleak position.
His third ball went for just one before Jean Symes skied the fourth ball, getting caught and earning a dot ball for the Volts.
De Kock was on strike for the fifth ball, needing just three from two balls for victory, but could manage just a single, resulting in Dwaine Pretorius needing two off the last ball for the win.
A single would again tie the scores, but the Volts knew if that was the case they would win on countback with it coming down to how many runs each team scored off their last ball of their super over, which for the Volts was six.
Pretorius had a crack hitting the ball to the outfield, but Brendon McCullum was sharp, collecting the ball and sending it into Neesham who grabbed the run out as the batsmen contemplated a second run.
It capped off one of the more dramatic games of cricket most will ever see and for Neesham it was a night that has sent him into stardom in the cricket-mad country of India.
"I think this is the biggest day, it will stay in my memory for a while," Neesham said after the game when asked if it was the biggest day of his life.
"Everyone has their day, I guess today was my day."
The Volts will now contemplate playing the Rajasthan Royals in their final group game, but even a loss was unlikely to knock them out of semi-final contention given their impressive net run rate.
Highveld Lions 167 for four (Quinton de Kock 109*, Jean Symes 20; Nick Beard 3-0-31-2, James McMillian 4-0-23-1, Neil Wagner 3-0-25-1)
Otago Volts 167 for seven (Jimmy Neesham 52*, Derek de Boorder 32, Hamish Rutherford 32; Imran Tahir 4-0-28-2, Lonwabo Tsotsobe 4-0-30-2, Hardus Viljeon 4-0-23-10).
Super Over - Otago Volts 13 (Brendon McCullum 6*, Jimmy Nessham 6*, 1 leg bye; Sohil Tanvir 1-0-12-0), Highveld Lions 13 (Quinton de Kock 12*, Jean Symes 0, Dwaine Pretorius 1).
*Otago win on countback determined by which team scored the most runs off the final ball of their super over.
- © Fairfax NZ News